Monday, October 31, 2005

Rain! Rain! Rain!

I'm having a very strange Monday and I'm much too mellow to do any real work. Mostly due to my supervisor's moonshine. She brought in homemade wine and grapes and bread and various spreads for our morning meeting. Yum!

Now, I rarely drink anymore, so I've got zero tolerance. One glass of wine is enough to get me woozy. I had that at the meeting. Then, someone had to finish the last cupful in the bottle, and I wanted the bottle, so I volunteered to finish it. I've been sipping it for the past couple hours. I'm in a happy place.

I actually started the day in a happy place. I've started listening to zen meditation CDs in the car on my way to work, and I am so much more relaxed during my commute. I even let a big ol' truck in front of me, knowing that the truck would slow me down. But all was good in the world!

And, as the post title makes clear, it is raining. Pouring, in fact. Thundering and lightening. Wonderful fall weather! The lights flicked off once. I am so ready to go home, make myself a nice bowl of soup to go with the bread I made last night, and curl up with a book and a cup of tea. I *should* go to the gym, but I went yesterday, so . . .

Anyway, here's the bread recipe I made last night. It's apparently idiot-proof, because I tried my darndest to screw it up and it still came out scrummy.

Baguette Bread (from Cooking Light)

1 pkg dry yeast
1.25 c. warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
3 c. bread flour (or high-gluten flour)
1/4 tsp. salt
Cooking spray
1 tsp. corn meal

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Add 2.75 c. of the flour; stir until a soft dough forms (my dough turned out too sticky and I wound up adding a lot of flour during kneading, so this might not be exactly right). Cover and let sit 15 minutes.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface. Sprinkle with salt. Knead until soft and elastic (approx. 6 minutes), adding flour as needed to keep from sticking to hands. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray; put dough in bowl and turn to coat; cover and let sit in a warm spot for 40 minutes or doubled in size.

Punch down dough. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Sprinkle corn meal on a large baking sheet. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 12-inch oblong, slightly tapered at each end. Place on baking sheet. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 450.

Make three shallow, diagonal slits on each loaf. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes or until bottoms are turning brown and the loaves make a hollow sound when tapped.

Enjoy the yummy goodness!


Something to help me procrastinate on a Monday morning. Yay! Thank you, Bearette!

Three names I go by:
My full name (although only when I’m in trouble)
My sister’s name

Three screen names I have had:

Three physical things I like about myself:

Three physical things I don't like about myself:
Only three?


Three parts of my heritage:

Three things that scare me:
Public embarrassment

Three of my everyday essentials:
Puppy snuggles

Three of my favorite musical artists:
Alison Krauss
Kasey Chambers
Dixie Chicks

Three of my favorite songs:
This is so based on my mood, but . . .

Not Pretty Enough (Kasey Chambers)
Cowboy, Take Me Away (Dixie Chicks)
Grow Old With Me (Mary Chapin Carpenter; if I ever get married, this is the song I want for the First Dance)

Three things I want in a relationship:

Two truths and a lie, in no particular order:
I can’t even come up with anything here. I’ll post something later. Sorry!

Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeal to me:

Three of my favorite hobbies:

Three things I want to do really badly right now:
Go home
Read a book
Spend a week (or more) in a cabin in the woods

Three Places I want to vacation:
Again, I say, only three?

Southeastern Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia)
Capetown to Cairo

Three kid's names I like:
Riley (boy or girl)

Three things I want to do before I die:
Travel more
Write a novel
Run a marathon

Three ways that I am stereotypically a boy:
I hate malls and stores.
I like dirty jokes.
I like sports movies.

Three ways that I am stereotypically a girl:
I like chick lit.
I love gossip.
I cry during movies.

Three celeb crushes:
Marc Blucas
Bradley Cooper
Chris O'Donnell

Happy Halloween

Rowen thought this was more trick than treat!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Weekend Plans: A Buzz Killer

It’s Friday. I’ve had a LOT of sugar today. And I’m cranky as all *&((. So let’s think ahead to the weekend.

Friday Night
* Gym. I’ll probably do an easy 30 minutes on the eliptical because I’m still congested and coughing. But I don’t want to feel like I’m totally wasting my money on the gym membership.
* DVDs. If I have any DVDs left to watch. I’ve been absolutely wiped at the end of the day for the past three days, so I’ve been zoning out to the first season of Veronica Mars (lives up to the hype---and Kyle Secor!) and the fourth season of Alias (no Will, but how much do I love Weiss this season; although, seriously, is Jennifer Garner’s torso so long that there isn’t a single shirt in LA that can cover both her cleavage and her belly at the same time?).
* Knitting. I’ve started the third panel (of five) for the afghan. So far, only minor oopsies.

* Dog park. Of course.
* Texas Book Festival. If I’m feeling really motivated. Last year’s festival was so-so---a few authors I really wanted to see and some interesting panels. This year’s line up is a big snore. There are a couple of big names---but you had to get wristbands for those readings ages ago. And, quite frankly, even the biggest of the big names haven’t written anything I’m all that interested in reading or hearing about. Saturday there are two panels that sound promising: I’ve Been Banned (Chris Crutcher, David Levithan, Patricia McCormick, and Sarah Weeks) and Found in Translation: Writers & Their Translators (Liliana Valenzuela, Nina Marie Martinez, Edith Grossman, and Mayra Montero).
* Studying for the GRE. One week to go! And I’m so gonna fail it.
* Reading. Forget the festival; I have a stack of books that I’m actually interested in and several of them have due dates that are approaching quickly.
* Knitting and DVDs.

* Walk or dog park. Haven’t decided which.
* Texas Book Festival. Again, a maybe, because the lineup is meh. Robert Boynton is discussing The New New Journalism. And there are two panels that peaked my interest, although they are at the same time: Boots on the Ground---An Intimate View of America in Iraq (George Packer, Michael Goldfarb, John Crawford, and Nathaniel Fick) and Lockdown---Growing Up Behind Bars in Texas (Steve Liss, John Hubner, and Jim Willett). I may also try to catch Doris Kearns Goodwin's reading. We’ll see.
* More GRE studying.
* More reading.
* Maybe some apartment cleaning.
* Crafting (of some sort).
* Gym. Treadmill if I’m feeling up to it; eliptical if I’m not.

Gah. Just typing this is bringing down my sugar high. I need to get a life. And some friends.

(Un)Running Report: Week Eight

Another week, another whole lot of nothin' to report.

No running. At all.

I, however, did do the 8 Minutes in the Morning workout three days in a row.

So, um, yay?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Baby? Baby Not

Babymaking has become the topic de la semaine* among my blog buddies. I can honestly say that I do not want children. Not that I don’t like kids; quite the opposite. I think kids are fantastic, wonderful, adorable blessings. And I applaud any responsible, loving adults who undertake the daunting task of being parents. Although there are certainly some people who make an excellent case for forced sterilization (Tom, Britney, Courtney---I’m talking to you).

I have the (very) occasional maternal pang when I hold a baby or get a hug from a toddler. I have just the slightest bit of envy when I see a mother and child. But as others have noted, I am fully aware that raising a child is more than baby powder and butterfly kisses. It’s not all warm fuzzies. It’s stinky diapers and sleepless nights and temper tantrums and never knowing when you’ll next be able to wash your hair, never mind shaving your legs. It’s having to put a decent meal on the table three times a day and enduring endless viewings of a singing purple dinosaur and spending evenings schlepping to soccer practice and piano lessons or finishing the project that the teacher assigned two weeks ago but isn’t getting started until the night before it’s due.

And the simple truth is that I’m selfish. I don’t want to do those things. I have a hard enough time contemplating the compromises I’ll have to make should I ever get married. And any doubts about my ability to be selfless and patient have been put to rest by Rowen. The first few nights that I had her, she cried and thrashed all night. I was about ready for some nice men in white coats to take me to a quiet room with padded walls. I can’t even imagine the years of sleep deprivation that mothers go through. I get impatient and snap at her if I’m tired and she wants to play or if I’m late for work and she won’t go potty. I’m just lucky that she has limited English skills, a short memory, and a loving disposition. A cat would not put up with me. A child would be scarred for life.

I don’t want to spend 18 years or more making the tremendous sacrifices that my parents made for me. I don’t want to do it. Those brief warm fuzzies are powerless against my overwhelming selfishness. And maybe that makes me a bad person. But I think it would be even worse to deny the truth about myself and bring a child into the world in the hope that the child would fit into my life or that I would miraculously change. I do believe that God gives us the graces we need for whatever challenges we face. And should I ever become pregnant---intentionally or not---I hope and pray that I would love that child and do my best to raise him or her in a good, loving home.

But why put myself---and God---to the test? Why should I want to have a child? To satisfy my mother---who has been pining for grandchildren since I hit puberty? To meet some societal norm? To make myself more marriageable? I don’t feel any great void in my life because I don’t have kids. I don’t feel like I’m less of a woman or missing out on something. I worry a little about whether I’ll come to the end of my life and regret not having kids. But I also feel like if I do change my mind after it’s too late, I can become a foster parent, a Big Sister, a mentor . . . there are ways to have children in your life and to leave a legacy without giving birth---and without having to give up quiet nights at home, long showers, and sleep.
I don’t want children. Not because I’m a bad person (although I am) and not because I don’t like kids. I’m not in denial. I’m not “still too young to know” (which is possibly the most offensive rebuttal; I’m 29, I’m an adult, I know). I just don’t.

God bless those who do. And, hey, I’m always willing to babysit. For a couple of hours.

* Putting that B.A. in French to use. Finally. And probably incorrectly.

On the Pile

Let me hang my head in shame. Two "On the Pile" posts in one week.

October has been a very, very bad book-buying month for me.

I went into the bookstore yesterday to do some early Christmas shopping. It's become a tradition that I get my parents and my sister each a book that I give them with the "stocking gifts." And I came this close to getting out of the store without buying any books for myself. But then . . . I was in the cooking section (looking for Rachel Ray's lowish-carb cookbook for my parents) and I started browsing through the vegetarian cookbooks. And I saw Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe and Anna Lappe. I'm going to see them speak in a couple weeks. F. M. Lappe's Diet for a Small Planet was hugely influential in my decision to become a vegetarian. It took me from thinking of meat as bad for the cute farm animals to realizing how bad a meat-based diet is for people (especially those in developing nations) and the environment.

So, of course, I had to buy the book.

But I had also gotten two other books in the mail yesterday:

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
This has gotten great reviews and sounds really interesting, even though I already know the "surprise" twist in the story.

Saturday by Ian McEwan
It's gotten mixed reviews and I mostly got it because it was bundled with the Ishiguro book as a book of the month selection. I might give it to my father for his birthday.

I swear---these are the last two books I will buy until 2006. And maybe it will be my New Year's resolution to not buy any books next year (well, except for any of those mythology books). I certainly have enough to last me through next year---and possibly through 2007, 2008, . . .

And I always have the library, which I continue to use and abuse. My latest borrowings:

8 Minutes in the Morning by Jorge Cruise
I was inspired by Bdogg's success to give this a try. I've kept it up for a whole two days so far! The exercise part, anyway. I'm not even trying to follow his food plan.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Another curiosity read.

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
I'm trying to catch up on a year's fiction reading because I've been so focused on nonfiction (and mostly depressing nonfiction on genocide, poverty, injustice) this year.

It's an illness. It really is.

I wonder if there's a book on it . . . .


You Are 25 Years Old
Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.
13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.
20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.
30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!
40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Meme!

Thank goodness for Poppy Cede! I had no idea what to post today until she put up a meme (most of the thoughts I'm having right now are ones that I'm not sure I want to share on a blog that's read by people I know).

Name someone with the same birthday as you.
Cal Ripken, Jr., and Steve Gutenberg

Where was your first kiss?
Basement of Scott’s house when I was about five years old.

Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else's property?
Not that I can think of.

Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex?
Only in a martial arts class.

Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people?
How large is large? I’ve sung karaoke in front of a few dozen people. And choir in junior high.

What's the first thing you notice about the preferred sex?
Hands and hair.

What is your biggest mistake?
Do I have to pick one? Probably giving up on journalism/writing as a career.

Have you ever hurt yourself on purpose?
I’ve tried to. In high school, I tried to break my toe to get out of running the mile for the Presidential Physical Fitness Test. It didn’t work.

Say something totally random about yourself.
I’m the only person I know who doesn’t love Austin.

Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity?
Chelsea Clinton during her awkward years. Really.

Do you still watch kiddy movies or tv shows?

Did you have braces?
Yes. And I need them again, but I keep putting it off.

Are you comfortable with your height?
No. I wish I were shorter, even though I’m not really all that tall (5’6”).

What is the most romantic thing someone of the opposite sex has done for you?
Well, it should have been the sunset plane ride from Virginia across the Chesapeake Bay. But the guy I was with spent the whole time reminding me that we were “just friends” and I got seriously motion sick. Other than that----no one has ever really done something truly romantic for me. I’m usually the one making the romantic gestures.

When do you know it's love?
No idea.

Do you speak any other languages?
I don’t even speak English very well. But I can understand and read some French, Italian, Chichewa, Latin, and Spanish.

Have you ever been to a tanning salon?

What magazines do you read?
Ode, Utne, Yoga Journal, Runner’s World, Atlantic, Harper's, Entertainment Weekly, US, Star, Life & Style, People, Vanity Fair, Sojourners, Cooking Light, ReadyMade, Bust, and any others that catch my eye or are left at work.

Have you ever ridden in a limo?

Has anyone you were really close to passed away?

Do you watch MTV?

What's something that really annoys you?
A million things. People who don’t use turn signals. People who stand in a line and don’t bother to get their ATM card/checkbook/etc. ready while they are waiting so that you have to wait even longer for them. People who don’t use common sense. Close talkers. I could go on and on . . . .

What's something you really like?
Watching television (even though I don’t have one). Chocolate. Fresh flowers. Water. Quiet. Travel.

Can you dance?

What's the latest you have ever stayed up?
About 30 hours.

Have you ever been rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room?
No, thank goodness.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Goodnight Nobody: Spoiler

Several of my blog buddies have (smartly) given up on Goodnight Nobody. But in case any of them are interested, I'll post who killed Kitty Cavanaugh in the comments section.

If you don't want to know, don't click on the comments. And if you do click on the comments, don't gripe to me later that I gave away the ending. Because at that point, you are just stupid. And I can't be responsible for your stupidity.

Cor Blimey!

Another quiz. This one via Bdogg and Poppy Cede.

What Flavour Are You? Cor blimey, I taste like Tea. Cor blimey, I taste like Tea.

I am a subtle flavour, quiet and polite, gentle, almost ambient. My presence in crowds will often go unnoticed. Best not to spill me on your clothes though, I can leave a nasty stain.
What Flavour Are You?

Monday, October 24, 2005

On the Pile

Confessions is good for the soul, right? Too bad it won't do much for my bank account. I really meant to pick up a couple of gossips mags and get out. But between the door and the magazines lay my greatest weakness: paperbacks.

All things considered, I think I showed remarkable restraint by walking out with only two paperbacks and two magazines (US---which will not give up on Nick & Jess---and People---which can't tell Jennifer Aniston from her body double). I can honestly say that fashion and "women's" magazines hold very little appeal for me anymore. Why would I want to hunt through hundred of advertisements for two little articles on clothes that I can't afford or exercise programs I won't follow anyway and that are the exact same as the program they published last year and I didn't follow?

Added to the pile this week:

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
Time and again, I've seen stories about people trying to ban this book from schools and libraries. I want to see for myself what all the fuss is about.

Best American Short Stories, 2005 ed. by Michael Chabon
I love these "Best" collections, even if they are really just the literary world's equivalent of the high school yearbook (i.e., it's usually full of the popular kids and rarely includes any truly surprising or challenging stories). But I occasionally find a new author or just get to enjoy a story by some of my favorites. And I just really admire people who can write short stories, because they are so much more difficult to write than full novels.

I've also been using the library request to full advantage. I've gotten interested in ayurveda, so I recently picked up Perfect Health: The Complete Mind/Body Guide by Deepak Chopra and Ayurveda: A Life of Balance by Maya Tiwari.

P.S. While typing this, I'm listening to the new Martina McBride album Timeless and loving it. Especially her cover of "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden." I may be playing that repeatedly today. Apologies to my work neighbors!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Blame Bdogg

She inspired me.

You Are a Mai Tai
You aren't a big drinker, but you'll drink if the atmosphere is festive. And when you're drunk, watch out! You're easily carried away.

Your Career Type: Social
You are helpful, friendly, and trustworthy. Your talents lie in teaching, nursing, giving information, and solving social problems.
You would make an excellent:
Counselor - Dental Hygienist - Librarian
Nurse - Parole Officer - Personal Trainer
Physical Therapist - Social Worker - Teacher
The worst career options for your are realistic careers like truck driver or farmer.

Darn it! There's the librarian thing again!

You Should Get a PhD in Liberal Arts
(like political science, literature, or philosophy)
You're a great thinker and a true philosopher. You'd make a talented professor or writer.

Anthropology probaby falls under this. Right?

You Are Socks!

Cozy and warm... but easily lost. You make a good puppet.

Yummy for My Tummy

Reeses Peanut Butter Cups

Very popular, one of you is not enough.

Peanut butter cups are actually my absolute favorite candy. So, cool!

Weekend Plans

Sniffle. Cough. Wheeze. Sniffle. Cough. Wheeze.

Repeat ad infinitum and you've got the gist of my weekend plans. Yep, I've got a full-blown cold that has taken up residence in my upper respiratory system. Which means I'm doing a whole lot of nothing this weekend. Which isn't really that different from any other weekend. Except that this weekend, I won't even make an attempt at being less than a hermit other than to take Rowen to the dog park. I really do believe that no one should have to listen to someone sniffling, coughing, mouth breathing, and generally sounding disgustingly germy in public. It's bad enough that I'm subjecting my coworkers to it.

Most of the weekend will consist of my staples: a large stack of DVDs and an equally large stack of magazines. One difference: I'll probably actually buy a bunch of tabloid mags rather than reading them at the bookstore for the aforementioned reason.

Also keeping me busy this weekend:
* Lots o'naps, preferably under the influence of many drugs.
* Dog park, because otherwise Rowen will make me crazy all weekend. But she's just going to have to find someone else to play with her while we're there.
* Studying for the GRE. I realize what a futile effort it is to try to study while drugged and feeling horrendous, but I only have two weeks to go and much to memorize.
* Work. I'm even more behind on hours than usual. Depending on how long I last today, I'll be between 10 and 12 hours short. I'm hoping to make up at least half of those by working from home this weekend.
* Crafts. The afghan sort of stalled this week because trying to focus on two things at once (DVD and knitting) was more than my congested, drug-addled mind could handle. But I need to get back on it so I can finish that, plus the two scarves I'm planning to make and the cross-stitch for my aunt I need to finish. And, really, if I'm going to do homemade gifts for Christmas, I need to think ahead a little more.

I also might try reading if I can get my vision to unblur for more than a few minutes at a time.

Oh, look at the time. I think I can take more meds now. Joy.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Running Report: Week Seven

I had such great intentions for this week.

Sunday: 3/2 run-walk intervals for 25 minutes.
Monday: Got sick.

The rest of the week has been one big downhill slide. As anyone who has come within 20 feet of me will attest, I'm in no condition to be running this week. Just walking up a flight of stairs is enough to wind me.

So another week, another pathetic report.


Why Yes, I Would Like Some Cheese

What cheese do you think would go well with a robust Why Did I Get Out of Bed from the My Life Sucks vineyard (vintage: longest week ever)?

So this is how my day is going:
* I woke up late and feeling absolutely haggard.
* After my shower, I put foot cream in my hair instead of my styling cream.
* I look and feel disgustingly fat no matter what outfit I put on.
* I thought I'd be good and skip Starbucks; I'd have the yogurt smoothie that I left in the office fridge. Except that I took one sip of the yogurt and recoiled in horror. I don't know if it had gone bad or if it was a taste reaction between that and any of the many, many pharmaceuticals I'm currently using (which include Nasonex, Advair, and Sudafed).
* People at the office are on my absolute last nerve. Certain things were decided WEEKS ago and now that those things need to be done, the person who needs to do them is all "Well, I guess I will" punctuated with a big sigh.
* I can't breathe; my ears are stuffed up; and I really want to put my pajamas on and curl into a ball. Except that I have very little leave time and I don't want to waste it on anything less than death.
* When I was posting to a blog, my verification word was "badat." As in "bad at." As in . . . I should never have gotten out of bed.

And it's not even 10 o'clock.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Part of my attempt at being a grown-up was to go to the grocery store, buy healthy food, and check whether my oven can handle something other than cookies and brownies.

Here's the first recipe that I tried:

Honey-Ginger Glazed Salmon with Arugula Salad
from Cooking Light (October 2005)

2/3 c. light honey (The recipe calls for sage, but I used clover.)
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 tbsp warm water
1.5 tsp grated fresh ginger (I minced some sliced ginger from a jar.)
1 clove (1 tsp) minced garlic
4 salmon fillets, skinned on one side
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 c. trimmed arugula

Combine honey, 2 tbsp lemon juice, water, ginger, and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk until blended. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan; arrange fish in pan, skinned side up (I accidentally did it skinned side down, and it came out fine). Let stand 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350.

After 20 minutes, turn the fish over, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt. Bake at 350 for 7 minutes. Remove from oven.

Preheat broiler.

Brush fish with honey mixture. Broil 7 minutes or until fish is browned and flakes easily with a fork.

Combine 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp salt, olive oil, and pepper in a bowl (I also added a little garlic ‘cause I love garlic). Whisk until blended. Add arugula and toss to coat.

It came out super-yummy---and I didn't get food poisoning (like I did the last time I tried to make fish), so the recipe is basically idiot-proof.

I think tonight will be orzo with tuna, tomato, and cilantro.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A Meme!

Who comes up with these questions? They remind me of the slam notes from junior high school.

Anyway, this one is from Bearette24.

1. When you look at yourself in the mirror, what's the first thing you look at?
My chin. I have issues with it.

2. How much money do you have on you?
About 58 cents, give or take a penny.

3. What's the first word that comes to mind that rhymes with "test?"

4. Favorite plant?
African violets

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?
My mother

6. What is your main ring tone on your phone?

7. What shirt are you wearing?
White, v-neck Old Navy tee. Same as always.

8. Do you "label" yourself?

9. The brand of shoes you're currently wearing?
Don’t know the brand. They are very dirty and very stinky white mule sneakers.

10. Bright or Dark Room?

11. What do you think of the person who took this survey before you?

12. Ever "spilled the beans?"
Yup. Although, I must say, as much as I like knowing gossip, I’m very good at keeping secrets---and at pretending like I didn’t know.

13. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Sleeping the sleep of the heavily drugged.

14. What did your last text message you received on your cell phone say?
An advertisement from Sprint. I deleted it without reading it.

15. Do you ever click on "Pop Ups?"
Only by accident.

16. What's a saying that you say a lot?
Very cool.

17. Who told you they loved you last?
My mother

18. Last person you hooked up with?
I don’t think I can remember that far back. And, honestly, I don’t think I ever knew the name of the last guy I kissed.

19. Last furry thing you touched?
Rowen, my absolutely perfect and wonderful puppy.

20. How many drugs have you done in the past 3 days?
Not as many as I would have liked.

21. How many rolls of film do you need to get developed?
Three or four that I know of.

22. Favorite age you have been so far?
Twenty-five. That was the one and only time that I really had it together.

23. Your worst enemy?
Shelob. And MBNA.

24. What is your current desktop picture?
Rowen in action.

25. What was the last thing you said to someone?
“Thank you.”

26. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to change a major regret?
The money. Because there are so many regrets I don’t know which I could choose.

27. Are you in love with someone?
No *sniff*

Someday . . .

So Bearette and Bdogg are showing off their pretty, pretty sparkling rings (their guys have some good taste!).

My all-important finger is as yet bare, but just so I can participate, too, here are the rings that I want to have:

Monday, October 17, 2005

And Another Thing

***Note: If you are one of my male coworkers, you may want to skip this post.***

So I bought some new bras this weekend. Unlike the yoga duds and books, these were an absolute must. But I was frugal; I went to Target instead of Victoria's Secret, because, quite frankly, the bras last the same amount of time but cost a third of the price.

Now, I admit some culpability in my current predicament. Despite having gained a significant amount of weight (approx. 40 lbs), I refuse to believe that my bra size could have changed, even though I've finally had to bite the bullet to get some clothes in the next size up.

That said, when I tried on the bra that I am wearing, it fit comfortably and gave me a nice silhouette---at least as much as I could see---given how cringe inducing my body is right now, I looked as little as I possibly could. Not to be overly graphic, but I currently look like this:

Anyway, so I got a couple new bras that were both comfortable and attractive in the dressing room. Now, however, after about 10 hours of wearing one of them, it is cutting into my sides and giving me quadraboob. Neither comfortable nor attractive.

Just one more thing for me to be cranky about today. And one more reason to stay at home---I can take off the stupid bra.

Pity, Party of One

When's my damn table going to be ready? I want to get this party started.

Yeah, I'm feeling darn sorry for myself today. I'm not feeling well. Again. Sore throat. A little congested. And that "hot face" feeling---like I'm standing out in bright sunlight at midday except that I'm inside. Nothing deadly. But definitely crummy. Generally just feel like I want to lay down. I also feel like stringing random thoughts together for this post.

Poor me.

I'm supposed to go to a forum on workers' rights tonight, and I feel like a total loser for not going, but I really just want to go home and burrow for the night.

And because I know you are dying to know: This weekend, I wound up reading part of Intuitive Eating and part of Goodnight Nobody, which I'm not starting to like anymore than when I began. In fact, I'm starting to like it less because it is just one cliche strung after another. I feel like I'm watching a time-warped Tuesday night television line up of Dharma & Greg, Gilmore Girls, and Desperate Housewives sprinkled with a little Murder, She Wrote.

I did a very good job of being a grown-up, except for buying a new outfit for yoga, which I probably didn't need. I also probably didn't need two more books, but at least I bought them at the half-price store: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood and The Odyssey by Homer (trans. by Richard Lattimore).

And I started on the second panel (of five) for the afghan. Too early to tell whether it will be any good. The assembly looks a little tricky.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Weekend Plans: Growing On Up!

Cleaning my apartment and managing my bank accounts are my two least favorite things to do. Well, besides figuring out the area of a triangle, going to a crowded bar, having my annual exam, . . . Okay, let’s just say that they are among my least favorite things to do.

But they are things that grown-ups are supposed to do. Well. And on a regular basis. And seeing as I am heading toward 30 faster than I care to think about (314 days and counting down), I should be a grown-up. I don’t feel like a grown-up, though, and I think it’s because my apartment still looks like my dorm room and I’m still playing Guess My Balance with my checking account.

So enough with nurturing my inner child. This weekend, I’m going to be a grown-up.

On the agenda:
* Yoga. I’m paying for it. I really ought to go. It’s the responsible, grown-up thing to do.
* Knitting. I’m making my first attempt at an afghan. If it comes out well, it will be a Christmas gift for my parents. If it comes out poorly, Rowen will have a new blankie and I can reclaim my bedspread.
* Setting up the money manager program on my computer. Again. If I can figure out how to erase all the old stuff. Anyone know how to do that?
* Paying bills.
* Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.
* Laundry.
* Finding a Halloween costume for Rowen. Because being a grown-up doesn’t mean that I’m not still a dork.
* Running. Really. After all, if I’m a grown-up, I have to start worrying about things like cholesterol and blood pressure.
* Studying for the GRE.
* Working on personal statements for grad school applications.
* Reading, reading, reading.
* A movie. But only if I’m really, really good about doing all my chores. There’s still one theater playing The Wedding Crashers. And In Her Shoes and A History of Violence are on my to-see list.

That’s about it. Lots of boring, grown-up-type stuff.

Any chance I can skip the grown-up phase and go right to the old fogy phase when people start telling me that I can’t do my banking and housecleaning myself and all they want me to do is watch television and knit?

Update: On a less than grown-up and responsible note, I also will again enter the dangerous world of home hair coloring this weekend. As loyal readers may remember, my previous attempts at coloring my hair at home have been less than successful. I was able to do a repair job, but now that my hair has a couple months of growth, the color is getting weird again because the colors aren't fading at the same rate, giving me a kind of solar eclipse effect. So I'm going to try to even it out with an all-over rinse and hopefully not make it even worse.

How Did I Not Know This?

Margaret Atwood has a new book coming out in November. And it sounds very interesting:

"Homer's Odyssey is not the only version of the story. Mythic material was originally oral, and also local -- a myth would be told one way in one place and quite differently in another. I have drawn on material other than the Odyssey, especially for the details of Penelope's parentage, her early life and marriage, and the scandalous rumors circulating about her. I've chosen to give the telling of the story to Penelope and to the twelve hanged maids. What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to?" -- from Margaret Atwood's Foreword to The Penelopiad

Apparently, this is part of a series of stories retelling popular myths. Another one of my favorite writers---Donna Tartt---is also scheduled to do one.

Happy, happy, happy day! One of my favorite topics---mythology/folklore---combined with some of my favorite writers! (I did a paper in college on the use of folk and fairy tales in Atwood and Morrison. I loved writing that paper.)

If you aren't reading Atwood's work, start. Now. Or right after you finish the Kozol book that I know you picked up yesterday.

Update: I've preordered the Atwood book and one by Karen Armstrong---A Short History of Myth---which is an introduction to the series. Of course, now I'm going to have to find a copy of Homer's Odyssey so I can reread it before I read the Atwood version.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Running Report: Week Six

I'm eating a bag of peanut M&Ms as I type this. Things are not looking good.

Yet again, I have not a thing to report. Not one thing. No thing. Nothing. Nada. All I have is a week full of excuses.

Friday---Just got plain lazy.
Saturday & Sunday---Told myself that I was resting because I hadn't been feeling well the week before and didn't want to push myself and get sick all over again.
Monday---There's that laziness again.
Tuesday---Well, it's just not one of my designated Exercise Days. And I had an appointment right after work and a meeting at church after that.
Wednesday---The weather was so nice and Rowen is so cute so we went to the dog park and she exercised. Which goes a long way to explaining why she is slim and healthy, and I'm, well, . . .

And you would think that week after week of writing that I haven't done anything would motivate me to do something. Except that it just makes me want to get a bigger bag of M&Ms and hide in bed for the rest of the day.

Books! Books! Books!

Maybe it's the change in weather---cool evenings and rainy days. Maybe it's thinking about grad school and the piles of textbooks and weekends spent writing papers. For whatever reason, I've gone on a total book orgy this month.

It started innocently enough with a trip to the library. Then, I discovered that I can request library books online and have them delivered to the branch down the street, rather than trekking all the way downtown (i.e., 15 minutes) on the off chance that the book that I want is there, and that I can renew the books online, as well. A cash-starved misanthropic shut-in's dream! I started requesting books right and left. No sooner would one come, then I'd request another. And when I picked up the books, I'd scan the front display of new releases and popular titles, grabbing one or two of those.

But even that hasn't been enough for me, and I've gone back to buying books. A bunch came a couple weeks ago. And this week, I got two more:

The Shame of the Nation by Jonathon Kozol
Kozol is one of the most important and compelling nonfiction writers of our time, exposing the truth about poverty and race in this country and finding humanity in the most inhumane conditions. If you aren't reading him, start. Now. I mean it. Amazing Grace is a good place to start.

On Beauty by Zadie Smith
I've been meaning to read White Teeth for, about, forever. This one's been getting good reviews and lots of buzz and I admit to being swayed by popular culture.

Plus, my library request for Wicked has just been filled.

Now, I have a problem. I have so many books that I don't know where to start. I pick one up and then another and then another and I'm almost paralyzed by the overwhelming number of books from which to choose. I kind of want the light touch and wit of Jennifer Weiner, but A. L. Kennedy has sucked me in with her hazy, off-kilter, stream-of-conscious storytelling. I'm supposed to be reading Intuitive Eating. And The End of Poverty is due back in a week. I'm about a quarter of the way through Collapse. Should I press on with that, even though I still have a couple weeks plus the option to renew? I also want to read the Kozol and Smith books while they are still new---not years after everyone else has stopped talking about them, as I do with most books. And, well, with most movies. And music. And, well, let's just say I'm not exactly on the cusp of the trend curve.

What's a bookaholic to do?!

And then there's the pile of magazines . . .

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Bored Now

You Are A: Lamb!


Peaceful and gentle, lambs have been used in religious imagery for millennia. Lambs are baby sheep, an animal tended by shepherds since the dawn of history. As a lamb, you tend to stay together in a flock and graze on grassy land. Lambs don't mind being led and tend not to go off on their own.

You were almost a: Duckling or a Pony

You are least like a: Puppy or a Squirrel
What Cute Animal Are You?

Still Obsessed

Despite the absence of postings on Tom and Katie, I am still obsessed with this pair. Even more so now that Katie is carrying a wee Scientologist in her womb (I knew something was up with that hand on the belly!). Now, I really don't care so much about whether Tom led the Virgin Katie from the narrow path. Much is being made of a comment she made about signing a pledge in high school to stay a virgin until she married. Well, we all signed a lot of pledges in high school---not to drink or take drugs or cheat on our exams. And most of us broke those pledges the minute we got our diplomas---if not before then.

But this whole 180 on Katie's part is disconcerting. Seven months ago, she was breaking off her engagement to Chris Klein with the excuse that she realized she was too young to settle down. Now, she's engaged, changing her religion, and knocked up. What's that about?

I don't think this is some contractual arrangement. I think Tom Cruise is a brainwashing freak.

I also think someone went a little overboard with the Photoshopping. Adding the outie was a subtle touch, which advances her pregnancy by a month or two, but might have gone unnoticed. But changing the color of her shirt? Kind of a dead giveaway. (Original on the left; altered on the right.)

In other coupling news, it seems that my former imaginary BFF is now cheating on my former imaginary boyfriend while he is off shooting a movie in Poland. And my new imaginary boyfriend was a witness to it all!

Wednesday Wake Up

Don't you just love the sound of crying smurfs in the morning?

Someone answered my prayers and posted a link to the video.

Update: The universe just paid me back for snarking on the smurfs. I was outsmarted by a vending machine in front of several coworkers who now think I am the dumbest person on earth. This is going to be a long Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

La La La-la-la-la La La-la-la La

I had school friends who weren't allowed to watch the Smurfs because they were Satanic. Or, at least, Gargamel and Azriel were. I wonder what they would think of Unicef's latest ad campaign:

Tiny Smurfs scatter and run in vain from the whistling bombs, before being felled by blast waves and fiery explosions. The final scene shows a scorched and tattered Baby Smurf sobbing inconsolably, surrounded by prone Smurfs.

Somehow this has something to do with child soldiers. Or something. I don't know. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the idea that it could have been worse:

"We wanted something that was real war - Smurfs losing arms, or a Smurf losing a head -but they said no."

Monday, October 10, 2005

Oops, I Did It Again

I used a really bad and tired headline.

And I borrowed way too many books from the library. The following have been added to the pile.

Harbor by Lorraine Adams

Paradise by A. L. Kennedy

Invisible Acts of Power by Carolyn M. Myss

And it's supposed to be a rainy week in Austin, so I may need to spend my evenings inside, snuggled up with a cup of vanilla tea and a book.

*sigh* I wish I was doing that right now.

Okay, and I wish I had someone to snuggle up with. I have a feeling this week will be quite the self-pity fest.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Thrall Has Gone Out of Our Relationship

My crush on Michael Shaub is over. Not only is he jumping on the oh-so-hip Pick-on-Chick-Lit bandwagon (hey, no one's claiming these books are high art, so what are you griping about?), but he's giving credence to something written in Radar.

Weekend Plans

It’s Friday afternoon---and you know what that means. Time for me to tune out from work and start planning the weekend. Except this weekend is all about work. The New Boss wants us to *gasp* do our jobs and meet our deadlines. There’s gotta be something in the Geneva Conventions about this. But until I can find a loophole, I’m putting my nose somewhere near the grindstone.

That said, this weekend’s forecast is for 80s and sunny, and I’m not going to miss out on that. So here’s the plan:

* Dog park or yoga. Depends on how I feel at the end of the day. I’m much improved from earlier in the week, but still feeling kind of yucky. And with Naomi, I never know whether the class is going to be kick-your-butt or restorative. So maybe I’ll do some easy, restorative poses at home and take the puppy out to the park.
* DVDs! What else. I’ve got Gilmore Girls Season Two, Discs 1 and 2 and Alias, Season 3, Discs 3 and 4 (even though it’s just not the same without Will!), plus some documentaries from Netflix that I really am interested in but never seem to be in the mood for.
* A knitting or cross-stitch project to work on while I’m watching the DVDs.

* Dog park. I think I’ll take Rowen to a different park than usual so that we can go to Mozart’s afterwards to sit outside while I do some proofreading for work.
* Reading. The stack of library books just keeps growing.
* Cleaning. The junk pile keeps growing, too.
* Movie. Maybe. I really want to see In Her Shoes, but I don’t like to shut myself up in a movie theater when the weather is so nice.
* Whatever else floats my boat. Probably a nap or two. Some more DVD watching after the sun has gone down.

* Walking the dog. We haven’t been to McKinney Falls or to the Greenbelt for a while---it’s been too darn hot---so we’ll hit one of those.
* More proofreading. I’ve got lots of hours to make up this week from being out sick and at doctor appointments. I’m also hoping to get some overtime, if I can.
* Studying for the GRE.
* Church.
* Meeting to plan a hunger banquet after church.

So much excitement, I think I need to take a nap right now.

She's Alive!

So Judy Tenuta is still alive. Who knew?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Running Report: What Week Is This?

Oh, I've lost count. And I'm much too lazy today to search for last week's post.

In any case, not much to report.

Sunday: 3/2 walk-run intervals for 25 minutes through the neighborhood. One small hill. Didn't totally suck, but not great, either.

Then, Sunday afternoon I got a raging headache that has finally, today, subsided to a dull ache. But I'm still feeling ucky, like maybe I have a mild flu or some other kind of virus. Not bad enough to keep me in bed, but enough that I'm feeling mighty sorry for myself and don't want to do much. Then again, that's not much different from most days, so . . .

On the Pile

So did you miss me? Can you lie and say you did?

The hammer has been brought down at work, and I've been under the weather most of the week. Hence the lack of postings. I even missed out on posting the news that Tom and Katie are preggers. I feel so, so very sorry for Katie, because I'm not sure she realizes how much she is f'ing up her life. Or perhaps she does. Some women are truly happier being subservient to a man. Whatever. Who am I to judge? (Okay, yeah, I'm judging. It's wrong. Here's buck, Kate. Buy yourself a clue.)

Anyway, in the midst of all this, I have managed to shift the book pile around a bit---finishing one, returning some to the library at various stages of being read, getting more from the library and bookstore. Here's the latest additions:

Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner
I actually bought this one so that Jennifer would have good sales.* I *heart* Jennifer in a big way. But after only 20 pages, I've got a long list of complaints about this book. I mean, how many of you, immediately after having seen a dead body, would be able to recognize instantly the phone number of a crush from five years ago? I'm thinking, in that situation, I wouldn't be able to recognize my own phone number.

The Power of Intention by Wayne W. Dyer
I'm on yet another self-help kick. But at least now I'm going to the library for my fix.

Awake at Work by Michael Carroll
Subtitled: 35 Practical Buddhist Principles for Discovering Clarity and Balance in the Midst of Work's Chaos. My work isn't so much chaotic as uninspiring and monotonous. But I'm hoping to find something that will get me through until I go to grad school next year.

I'm also still reading Collapse by Jared Diamond. It's one of those books in which the material is very interesting but the writing is not so good.

A sample quote: All of us love a romantic mystery, and the Maya offer us one at our doorstep . . . To visit a former Maya city, we need only board a direct flight from the U.S. to the modern Mexican state capital city of Merida, jump into a rental car or minibus, and drive an hour on a paved highway.

Um, sure, that's kind of at our doorstep. Only? What?

*Yeah, we're on a first-name basis. She's my new imaginary BFF. As you may remember, my former imaginary BFF hooked up with my former imaginary boyfriend.